Cruise Review: Holland America 11 Day Mediterranean Explorer
|Reviewed By:||Helen H on 30 Aug 2013, 12:08|
|Cruise Line:||Holland America Line|
|Sail Date:||Jul 2013|
|Times Cruised Before:||9|
Recently, I returned from an 11/7 Med cruise, organised by David Kinsella, on HAL's ms Noordam. Everything about him was professional and he is so efficient, and helpful--nothing seemed like too much trouble, and I'm not the easiest client to deal with! I have a lot of experience and know what I want!
I was upgraded to a mini suite!!? They do look after their Mariners!
I've been a widow for 20 years, and wanted to go on holidays. My married friends, naturally, were doing their own thing. I hated hotels, specially going into dining rooms in the evening, wondering where to sit. From the moment I put my foot on that first ship, I felt like part of the furniture! Almost all of my holidays, ever since, have been on cruise ships. Sometimes I cruise with family or friends, but frequently travel alone. If alone, my tip is to book a table for 8. That way there's bound to be one with whom you might have some common ground! Never in all my years cruising have I felt I had to ask to be moved to another table. Obviously some have been great, others not so, but none were awful
I tried several different cruise lines but have opted for the Holland America for the last 6 years. For me it's a lot about the ethos onboard--very friendly staff and crew--and food and accomodation is good. One caveat! They essentially cater for over 50s. I wouldn't advise my children or grandchildren to use them till they're a bit older!
Holland America advertise themselves as 5 star. I think a good 4 star would be more accurate. They represent very good value for money per day. Having paid for the cruise, the only other expense is alcohol. Their drink prices are about the same as a decent hotel here--wine--my drink-- can be bought by the glass or purchase a bottle, which the barman keeps for you--till it's gone! Their house wine is certainly good enough for me--I know a bit about wine! It probably works out at $5.50 per glass. Cocktails are expensive in my opinion.
Shore excursions are very expensive on all cruises in my opinion. My advice is to do your homework online for different ports. For example, you're in Livorno, and want to go to Florence, the train is cheap and reliable. Or maybe afew hours at a nice beach is on your agenda, take a taxi to Scuola Windsurf Liverno for 20 euro ew., umbrella and sunbed costs 13 euro. Alternatively, you're in Naples, you want to go to Capri or Sorento, take the hydrofoil, which is fast and good value. And the Blue Grotto is out of this world!! In Cagliari, Sardinia, and it's too hot for sight seeing, take a Poeto Beach bus, for 8 euro, from the port. It runs about every half hour. Great beach. Umbrellas and sunbed costs 13 euro.